Yarnold: My dreams have come true with Olympic gold

14 February 2014 / 19:53

Great Britain's Lizzy Yarnold dominated her rivals to win Olympic skeleton gold - leaving the best of the rest in a race for silver in Sochi.

Yarnold's winning margin over four runs at the Sanki Sliding Centre was 0.97 seconds as she and her sled Mervyn secured Britain's second medal, and first gold, of these Games.

Her victory also means Great Britain have now won four consecutive Olympic skeleton medals, from Alex Coomber's 2002 bronze to Shelley Rudman's silver in Turin and the gold won by Amy Williams four years ago in Vancouver. 

At this rate skeleton might become the new national sport.

"I have worked so hard to get into this position and I am just so proud that my dreams have come true," said Yarnold.

"I would have been proud to make the podium but to have got the gold…it is unexplainable. I am so proud of myself but I always have high expectations of myself.

"I always secretly intended to come to Sochi. That was always my dream and my goal but to win the whole race is far beyond my expectations.

"I'm just so thrilled I got myself here after five years of hard work. As an athlete you do so much hard work, but it's worth it for days like this."

Yarnold took a near half-a-second advantage into the third run, which she extended further to leave her rivals almost accepting of defeat before the final run. American Noelle Pikus Pace took silver and Russia's Elena Nikitina claimed bronze.

"I knew I had a 0.78 second lead on Noelle but when you start the final run it is just like any other training run," added Yarnold. "My processes are exactly the same, my coach is there exactly like normal.

"I just knew I should enjoy it and embrace the whole occasion. I let the sled run a little bit more than I would usually and just relaxed and loved it. I knew that I could really, really go for it on that last run."

Andi Schmid is the British skeleton coach with something of a Midas touch but even he admitted surprise at the commanding manner of Yarnold's victory - though she has been the form athlete of the World Cup season and arrived here as favourite.

"It is an amazing feeling. Four years after Amy and now this and another name on the gold. It is a great achievement for British Skeleton and the individual athlete," he said.

"In my head I am thinking what did we achieve with four different names on the podium in four Olympics? The programme is producing great results and to have another incredible athlete again on the podium is phenomenal."

Yarnold will receive her gold medal on Saturday evening and, following Jenny Jones's bronze in the snowboard slopestyle, it means Great Britain are looking good with more second week medal chances to come.

"This is a fantastic moment for Lizzy and I know every member of our Team GB delegation is thrilled for her," said Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay.

"What we have seen during the past two days of competition is an athlete at the very top of her sport.  Through hard work, determination, unwavering self-belief and an outstanding support system, Lizzy has earned a title very few athletes can claim: she is the Olympic champion."

Meanwhile, Shelley Rudman claimed she may push on to a fourth Olympics after the 2006 silver medallist struggled with track conditions to finish 16th.

“I look at my career and think ‘yeah, it’s great’, and what we are going to do now is try and go on a family holiday, relax a little bit and set some new goals out, for possibly Pyeongchang," she said.

© Sportsbeat 2014